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This handsome garden perennial is native to Asia Minor, Greece, and Turkey. Although it was possibly the tall, reddish-flowered Hellebore described by Philip Miller in his Gardeners Dictionary of 1754, the Lenten Rose was not commonly cultivated until the early 19th century. Hellebore is an ancient term for a plant supposed to cure insanity. Like Christmas Rose (H. niger), Lenten Rose is an extremely long-lived plant when well situated.
A hardy, late-winter to early-spring flowering perennial, Lenten Rose displays greenish-white flowers marked with red or dark purple on 12 to 18-inch stalks above previous season's foliage. Its handsome, leathery leaves form a large mound in the garden up to 2-feet across. It prefers light shade and limestone-rich garden loam and can be divided in fall.